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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    WarOnISIS

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: And now more of our continuing interview series, “The War on ISIS”. Our focus tonight: Turkey’s role.

    It’s a NATO partner, but so far it’s been reluctant to get involved. To help explain why, we are joined now from Washington by Geoff Dyer, a U.S. foreign policy correspondent of the Financial Times.

    So, Geoff, sometimes these pictures that come out, where you can Turkish tanks really just looking over the border where some of the fightings are happening. What’s keeping Turkey on the sidelines?

    GEOFF DYER: There are a number of reasons for that. One is that the Turkish government says it has very different outlook as to what their main objective should be in this campaign.

    The U.S. is focusing just on ISIS, but the Turks would like the U.S. and the coalition in general to also take the fight to the Assad regime. It doesn’t want to just have a campaign that just focuses on ISIS.

    The Turks are also, to some extent, ambivalent about the political groups that have been dominant in towns like Kobani, which are Syrian Kurds who have links to a militant group, a Kurkish militant group that the Turkish government has been in war with for three decades. So that explains some of its reluctance.

    And also there is a broader sense of a slippery slope for the Turkish government. You know, if they were intervene here, do they send ground troops if they manage to push ISIS back to hold the town?

    Should they intervene in other towns if this happens? If ISIS go away but come back in a few week’s time, what does that mean for the Turks, are they involved again?

    So all those slippery slope arguments that President Obama have been grappling with over the last couple of years, the Turks are also very much grappling with them as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Alright. What sort of a coalition will make Turkey get into this fight and put boots on the ground?

    GEOFF DYER: Well the Turks have been very, very aggressive in the campaign against the Assad rhetorical at least in the campaign against the Assad regime for the last couple of years. They have placed a lot of emphasis on that.

    And that’s their big strategic goal here: to try to push the U.S. into the direction of not just going against ISIS but also going against the Assad regime, putting much more resources into the opposition forces who can fight the Assad regime.

    And if that’s happening, you might sort of see Turkish government become willing to use some sort of military assets, or even to intervene more directly in the conflict.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, one of the other concerns right now has been this almost a freeway or a pipeline of supply in terms of humans coming from, say, Great Britain or the West and wanting to join forces with ISIS.

    It seems the key way station is Turkey. Is Turkey stopping that flow?

    GEOFF DYER: That’s a very hard question to answer. I mean, you get very conflicting reports on that front.

    Certainly over the last couple of years, that has been one of the main routes. The Turkish government says it has made the steps to clamp down on this, not just on the fighters, but also on the financing aspect of it.

    But it’s a very open and porous border. There are huge of long standing smuggling routes between Turkey and Syria that have been around for centuries. It’s not something that’s very easy, just a clamp down on just overnight.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Alright, Geoff Dyer of the Financial Times joining us from Washington. Thanks so much

    GEOFF DYER: My pleasure.

    The post Why is Turkey hesitant to enter the fight against ISIS? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WAfricaEbola

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: For more about the situation in West Africa where more than 4,000 people have died of the disease, we’re joined now via Skype by Drew Hinshaw of The Wall Street Journal.

    He recently was in Sierra Leone and Liberia and joins us tonight from Ghana. Throughout the week we have health experts from Europe and in the United States say that the problem is much worse in Africa, that there aren’t enough health care workers to deal with this – what’s life like on the streets where you’ve been visiting?

    DREW HINSHAW: It’s terrible. Particularly in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. I was there two weeks and every time I left the hotel I saw some sign of the tragedy. You would see a body on the road, or a sick person surrounded by a crowd.

    You do see more response too. You see ambulances blaring up and down the street, you see body teams going to collect bodies. Unfortunately, it’s just the response just seems so far behind the disease.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Drew, you’ve been to this region multiple times now, give us a sense of perspective on the scale of how bad it is.

    DREW HINSHAW: It’s incredible, when I first went there in early August, you really had to work to find Ebola victims, now they find you. The cases are doubling every three weeks. The difference is extraordinary. Everywhere you go, you see this massive increase in Ebola cases.

    If you look at it, if it’s doubling every three weeks. You can sit down with a calculator and kind of plot how bad this could get, how quickly this could become sort of a huge once in a generational event, both for West Africa and for global public health.

    The scale of this is increasing extremely fast. It’s extremely hard to see how public health will catch up with it if that doesn’t come down soon.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Does that mean that the number of doctors has to double every three weeks to try to deal with this volume of patients?

    DREW HINSHAW: Exactly. I mean Ban Ki-moon just the other day mentioned that we need a twenty-fold increase in what we’re doing right now. I think, I mean I’m not an epidemiologist, but my just being in Liberia and Sierra Leone – you’d say yeah he’s right.

    The number of sick people, the number of families that have been totally wiped out, neighborhoods that are crawling with people who have been infected. It’s just.

    There’s this huge increase in what it was like in August and what it’s like now. The number of doctors and nurses that we need on the ground is just so vast and the gap between what we need and what we have is only getting bigger.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And at this point they’re trying to convince people to stay at home and possibly die there instead of coming to a hospital.

    DREW HINSHAW: They just have no good answers right now. This is a huge debate. The CDC thinks it’s a really horrible idea to basically give people gloves and painkillers and say, ‘okay you know, feed your family members while they have Ebola.’

    On the other hand, people like UNICEF think ‘what else are you going to do.’ People are stuck in a house with their dying relatives.

    The rules are that you shouldn’t touch them, that you shouldn’t go near them, that you should leave them in a bedroom essentially to die, but that’s just not a tenable option for most people when their loved one is dying, they get to a point where compassion overrules self-preservation.

    That’s exactly how Ebola has been spreading house-to-house and unless there is just a huge increase in the number of hospital beds available, it will continue to happen.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: I think the [Wall Street] Journal had this morning the amount of water for example per patient that it takes to try to contain this.

    DREW HINSHAW: You need just this massive amount of logistics – bleach, water, you know hundreds of head-to-toe suits every day, face masks, gloves, just a huge amount of logistics that you need build and operate these clinics.

    I mean the Sierra Leone airport is so far from the capital that you can only get to it by boat. These are countries that just aren’t set up to have a huge increase in logistics like that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What’s happening to the sense of I guess comfort in the people? I mean they must know that the entire world is looking at them in this way and as their economy slows down, are people looking for exit strategies?

    DREW HINSHAW: People are trying to leave. People are extremely edgy. Even where people accept the science of Ebola, they’re obviously scared. And where people don’t, they’re completely confused and panicked. It’s extremely edgy.

    Just the other day I saw a giant mob. I have no idea what was going on, but it was right outside of an Ebola clinic. A giant mob appeared to be I don’t know if they were beating someone, but we turned the car about and left.

    But everywhere you go, you just kind of angry mobs that are upset about sick people in their neighborhood, or bodies that haven’t been collected. People are very, very frightened.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Alright, Drew Hinshaw of The Wall Street Journal, thanks so much.

    DREW HINSHAW: Thank you, too.

    The post Sizing up the scale of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Author and journalist James Risen bores into the many costs of the so-called “War on Terror” in his new book “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War,” out Tuesday. The toll is a heavy one in Risen’s telling — he weaves a tale of companies (and con-men) working the government contracting system to enrich themselves; of operations gone awry in the quest to prevent another 9/11; of lives wrecked by post-traumatic stress and of whistleblowers silenced.

    PAY ANY PRICE James RisenBut it was his 2006 book, “State of War,” that contained a revelation that has brought the veteran New York Times investigative reporter to the point where his own freedom is in jeopardy. Risen wrote in that book of an intelligence operation codenamed “Merlin” that was designed to stymie Iran’s nuclear weapons program by having a middle man sell deliberately-flawed weapons blueprints to the Islamic Republic. Risen’s revelation led to a leak investigation by the Department of Justice, and he was eventually subpoenaed in 2008 to testify against the suspected leaker, Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official. Sterling was indicted for violating the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing the program’s existence to Risen.

    Earlier this summer, Risen’s effort to avoid testifying was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond had reversed a lower court ruling quashing the subpoena, and told the reporter he must testify against Sterling. The Supreme Court rejected Risen’s appeal, setting up a potential contempt citation — and possible jail time — for continued refusal to testify. However Attorney General Eric Holder has said journalists should never be jailed for their work. And on Friday, federal prosecutors said in court that the Risen subpoena may face a new review under recently-issued Administration guidelines.

    Judy Woodruff sat down with Risen to discuss his new book, but in this online special, he speaks about his case and his thoughts on the Obama Administration’s latest prosecution of the age-old war against leaks.

    The post James Risen: government crackdown on whistleblowers bad for democracy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Demonstrators confront police outside the Ferguson police station on October 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Ferguson has been struggling to heal since riots erupted following the August 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in suburban Ferguson. Another teenager, Vonderrit Myers Jr., was killed by a St. Louis police officer on October 8. Several demonstrators and members of the clergy were arrested at the protest after a show of civil disobedience. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    Demonstrators confront police outside the Ferguson police station on October 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Ferguson has been struggling to heal since riots erupted following the August 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in suburban Ferguson. Another teenager, Vonderrit Myers Jr., was killed by a St. Louis police officer on October 8. Several demonstrators and members of the clergy were arrested at the protest after a show of civil disobedience. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    Police in St. Louis and Ferguson arrested at least 19 protesters on Monday as they took to the rainy streets of Ferguson, MO, calling for more accountability in law enforcement tactics and an end to racial profiling in the wake of recent police-related shootings of black teenagers.

    Last Wednesday, an off-duty police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Vonderrit D. Myers in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. Police say Myers opened fire on the officer first, but Myers’ family insists he was unarmed. This set off another series of angry protests with members of the community demanding an investigation.

    At least 10 separate events were planned at undisclosed places for “Moral Monday,” the final installment of what protesters have called “Ferguson October,” a four-day gathering of activists, faith and community leaders angered by the August death of Michael Brown. The events in and around St. Louis and Ferguson have been primarily peaceful, but have nonetheless raised tensions between activists and police in the area’s already strained climate.

    Monday’s march began in the late morning at Wellspring Church and led to Ferguson’s police station, where about 13 demonstrators were arrested after attempting to enter, including well-known activist and a Baptist minister Cornel West. He was led away with others who were standing outside the station when protesters began attempting to enter.

    Another protest took place several miles away in front of Emerson Electric, where protesters blocked the intersection in front of the company several minutes before police moved in and made six arrests.

    St. Louis police told USA Today that they were taking extra precautions to ensure public safety with more officers on hand to monitor protests.

    Police arrested at least 17 more protesters over the weekend for unlawful assembly when demonstrators surrounded a QuikTrip station in St. Louis early Sunday morning and staged a sit-in.

    Also on Sunday, several hundred demonstrators marched peacefully from Shaw to the St. Louis University campus, where they were joined by several students.

    The post At least 19 ‘Ferguson October’ demonstrators arrested while protests continue appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ELECTION 2014  monitor MICHIGAN

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: To politics now, and to Michigan, where Republican Governor Rick Snyder is in a tough fight for reelection. Snyder is one of a handful of Republican governors elected four years ago in states that voted for Barack Obama for president.

    Christy McDonald, special correspondent for Detroit Public Television, has this report.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder moves eagerly through an appreciative crowd at a recent town hall event in a Detroit suburb, while, outside, a small taste of what he’s up against this election.

    The Republican governor campaigned four years ago as a political outsider, a businessman ready to pull Michigan out of economic trouble with a quirky TV spot.

    GOV. RICK SNYDER, (R) Michigan: It’s the way to finally save our state.

    NARRATOR: Rick Snyder for Michigan. He’s one tough nerd.

    MAN: Rick Snyder.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Snyder won by 20 points, collecting Tea Party activists, independents, and moderate Democrats. He was one of a handful of Republican governors who won in states that just two years earlier had voted for Barack Obama.

    Once in office, Snyder poured millions of dollars into the state’s depleted rainy day fund and pushed for streamlined business taxes. He says he’s changed the business climate that is turning things around.

    GOV. RICK SNYDER: We have created nearly 300,000 private sector jobs in the last three years. We’re number one in the country in creating manufacturing jobs, number four in high-paying jobs. So we have got a strong track record. And I’m proud of that. But I want to keep building on that.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Jim Thienel owns a small appliance business. He likes the job Snyder has done and now wants him to do more.

    JIM THIENEL: He needs to clearly express all the wonderful things he’s done for the state of Michigan. He’s been an effective governor. And now we need an effective leader that is going to get out and motivate people and inspire people.

    GOV. RICK SNYDER: Here’s a list of what we have done in the last three years. I’m proud of this.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: And while Michigan is doing better, its unemployment rate is still the sixth highest in the nation.

    REP: MARK SCHAUER, Democratic Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate: When we vote, we win, and then we change our state.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: It’s that economic uncertainty that challenger Mark Schauer, a former state legislator and one-term congressman, highlights on the stone.

    MARK SCHAUER: Let’s finish the job. Yes. Let’s finish the job.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Schauer is asking the classic question, are you doing better than you were four years ago?

    So, right now, you’re saying that the biggest issue in this campaign right now is the economy and where people feel they are right now?

    MARK SCHAUER: Well, I think it’s who the economy is working for. And I think they see Rick Snyder’s economy may work for the folks at the top, but it’s not working for them.

    The guy that ran four years ago ran as one tough nerd. As soon as he took office, he got tough on all the wrong people.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Schauer also started capitalizing on education concerns in Michigan, mentioning frequently that he’s the son of a teacher.

    Betty Aubin is a recently retired schoolteacher.

    BETTY AUBIN: I think he knows so much about it because of his background of his parents in it, and he’s a person that understands what’s being undermined and what’s happening.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Fueling the biggest controversy of the race, Schauer says Governor Snyder has cut $1 billion from education.

    MARK SCHAUER: It is undisputable that his first budget cut funding for our pre-K through 12th grade schools by $930 million, further cut community colleges, cut higher education, our universities by 15 percent.

    WOMAN: Governor Rick Snyder cut a billion dollars.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: A TV spot authorized by Schauer features teachers claiming Snyder did cut the budget and it’s being felt in the classroom. Snyder says, that’s a lie, that as the state’s fiscal situation has improved, there has been increasing investment in schools and teacher pensions.

    GOV. RICK SNYDER: Because the numbers are solid. There is no doubt. We have had multiple media sources confirm it. I have put over $1.1 billion more into K-12 with state dollars over the last three years. And the budget I just signed into law is a billion dollars higher than the year I took office.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: It’s getting voters talking and teachers unions motivated. Two years in a whirlwind lame-duck session that brought thousands to the state capital in protest, the legislature passed a right-to-work bill.

    PROTESTER: Governor Snyder…

    PROTESTERS: Governor Snyder…

    PROTESTER: … must veto!

    PROTESTERS: … must veto!

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Governor Snyder signed it, even though he kept repeating it wasn’t on his agenda, and with that, the moderate un-politician started to look more conservative.

    Susan Demas is the publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

    SUSAN DEMAS, Inside Michigan Politics: He doesn’t want those Tea Party voters to sit home on November 4, but, at the same time, if he really plays up his conservative credentials to try and woo those voters, then he risks alienating the moderate and independent voters. And he needs those voters as well. So he’s in a tough position.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: One factor in this race, Detroit. The city is undergoing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. It was Governor Snyder who appointed an emergency manager, suspending the powers of elected officials. He’s also the one who signed off on Chapter 9.

    Last year, protesters pushed back against Snyder’s emergency manager.

    MAN: It violates our civil rights, but it also violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: Now, with Detroit set to emerge from bankruptcy and some city services running a bit more smoothly, Snyder can take some of the credit.

    Stephen Henderson is the editorial page editor of The Detroit Free Press.

    STEPHEN HENDERSON, The Detroit Free Press: So, it’s something he can hold up as an accomplishment, and he’s so close to being done with that right now. That’s something he should be trumpeting.

    MARK SCHAUER: Are you ready to deliver the knockout punch?

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    CHRISTY MCDONALD: The race in Michigan will of course come down to turnout. Will Democrats and the unions fire up their base enough to vote in a non-presidential election year? Can Snyder motivate the independents and moderate Democrats that voted for him four years ago?

    The latest polls in early October now have Snyder ahead, if just slightly, leaving Michigan as one state to watch come Election Day, November 4.

    The post Economic uncertainty haunts Michigan governor’s re-election bid appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    payanypricebook

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next to the author of a new book on the costs, in lives and treasure, of the war on terror.

    JAMES RISEN, Author, “Pay Any Price “: The war or terror, the global war on terror has become essentially an endless war. It started with a search for justice. And I think, 13 years later, it’s become a hunt for cash.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a stark conclusion James Risen has come to in the decade-plus since September 11. The veteran New York Times investigative journalist is best known for the explosive revelation that the Bush administration ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants after 9/11.

    But now he has compiled examples of what he sees as that hunt for cash, greed for power, and lives wrecked in his new book, “Pay Any Price.”

    The title of the book comes from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address when he said, let every nation know…

    PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: That we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Your argument is that that “any price” has been way too high a price. How so?

    JAMES RISEN: Well, we have had 13 years of war now. A lot of people have gotten into the war on terror in order to make a lot of money or to gain status or power, both in the government and outside of the government.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Did it have to be this way? Could it have been at some point avoided before it all happened?

    JAMES RISEN: Well, there’s lots of points at which we made choices. We decided to invade Iraq. We decided to invade Afghanistan. We have occupied both those countries.

    Then we began you know remote battles across other countries. And we built a huge infrastructure for what we call Homeland Security here at home. And so we have had an enormous, just hundreds of billions of dollars poured into national security, homeland security and what I call the — what I call the new homeland security industrial complex.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That is a play on Dwight Eisenhower’s famous phrase “the military industrial complex” coined amid the Cold War. Risen describes a new apparatus for a new war built in parallel, and almost entirely in secret, but with a staggering price tag.

    JAMES RISEN: There are estimates that the entire war on terror, if you count Iraq, Afghanistan, all of the other things we have done, both domestically and internationally, have cost about $4 trillion. And that is an enormous transfer of wealth into a new sector of the economy, which is security.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you describe so many examples of how this has happened. You have got chapter after chapter.

    Picking out a couple of them, there is one where you talk about certainly money stolen from Iraq. There is another, an operation called Alarbus, where — name for the shell company that was created by the Pentagon, their special operations command. They created their own spy agency.

    JAMES RISEN: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why was that necessary? Why weren’t they able to work with the CIA?

    JAMES RISEN: Well, there’s been all kinds of turf battles inside the government over control of intelligence. You know, intelligence has become kind of the crown jewel within the government. Everybody wants a piece of it over the last 13 years.

    The Pentagon wants to get in on the CIA’s turf. And so they created these front companies to act like the CIA does around the world. And in this case, there are all kinds of allegations about whether some of the people involved were taking advantage of the operation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: At one point, they were talking about assassinating suspected…

    JAMES RISEN: Right. And there — yes, and one of the foreigners involved in the operation tried to — allegedly tried to use the bank accounts, or wanted to use the bank accounts set up by Alarbus for money laundering, for massive money laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so the government would have been engaged in this?

    JAMES RISEN: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But it didn’t — it didn’t actually happen?

    JAMES RISEN: No, no, but there was an FBI investigation that has been secret, until now, of what happened.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In another chapter, Jim Risen, you write about millions of dollars spent on programs that were completely fraudulent.

    One was run by a man named Dennis Montgomery. He had worked in computer software, but he was a gambler.

    JAMES RISEN: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And he sold the CIA and the Pentagon on technology that turned out to be not at all what he said it was.

    JAMES RISEN: Right.

    There was — it’s difficult to tell in some of these cases who is scamming who.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Montgomery was, in his attorney’s words, a con man. He and his partners eventually procured more than $20 million in government contracts. One program had officials at the CIA convinced that Montgomery could uncover plans for the next al-Qaida attack.

    JAMES RISEN: If you talk to Montgomery, he argues that the CIA wanted him to do what he was doing.

    In this case, they began to believe, in this kind of war fever, that you could find al-Qaida messages hidden in Al-Jazeera broadcasts.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Middle East broadcaster was, at the time, al-Qaida’s chosen outlet for broadcasting messages from Osama bin Laden. Montgomery convinced intelligence officials that his software could decode orders from the terror group to its operatives. So-called intelligence from his program about a new wave of airliner attacks was eventually delivered directly to President George W. Bush in December 2003, and led Mr. Bush to issue an extraordinary order.

    JAMES RISEN: This highly secret program was used by the Bush administration to ground planes all over Europe and the United States.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: When actually there was nothing to it.

    JAMES RISEN: Right. Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It was a hoax.

    JAMES RISEN: It’s this very complicated story about a man recognizing an opportunity who had never been involved in national security before, and the CIA and the military all just hungry for whoever could come with the latest idea.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: At the end of the day though, yes, money may well have been wasted,in the million, hundreds of millions, and beyond, outlandish things happened, but the country hasn’t had another huge terror attack, the way we did on 9/11.

    So, could it be argued, could the government argue, we have done our job, even if we made some mistakes?

    JAMES RISEN: I think that’s probably their argument.

    So, the question is, what — did we overestimate the threat and build up this huge infrastructure while hyping a threat, or has the — has this massive amount of money really had an effect?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there any way to dial it back? Are you saying…

    JAMES RISEN: I think the country has to begin to get out of the constant state of fear over terrorism that we have been in since 9/11.

    To me, it reminds me a little bit of the McCarthy period, when we had this abstract threat of Russia. Everyone knew that Russia was a threat, but we didn’t know that much about Soviet communism at the time. And so, because it was sort of abstract, we were able to think that the Russians were 10-feet tall.

    I think we have had something similar happen in the post-9/11 world where, because al-Qaida and Islamic terrorism are kind of new and unknown threats to us, we have made them 10-feet tall, when, in fact, they are not 10-feet tall.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: James Risen, author of “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War,” thank you very much.

    JAMES RISEN: Thank you for having me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s much more from the interview on our Web site, including James Risen speaking on his refusal to identify a confidential source, in defiance of a federal subpoena.

    The post Are the costs of security at ‘any price’ too high? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A new document from a gathering of bishops at the Vatican Monday revealed a possible new direction for the Catholic Church's approach to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Photo by Flickr user Tejvan Pettinger

    A new document from a gathering of bishops at the Vatican Monday revealed a possible new direction for the Catholic Church’s approach to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Photo by Flickr user Tejvan Pettinger


    The Catholic Church may be changing its attitude toward homosexuality and same-sex marriage, a new Vatican document revealed Monday.

    A report issued by a gathering of 200 bishops from around the world, brought together by Pope Francis to discuss families in modern society, reflected a more inclusive tone on the subjects.

    In the document, prepared after the first week of a two-week gathering, the bishops suggested the Church recognize that homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community.” The document also posed the question of whether the Christian community was capable of accepting them “without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony;” saying that often homosexuals were hoping for a “Church that offers them a welcoming home.”

    The document also suggested that pastors around the globe look at the “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation.”

    “Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions,” the document said, “it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”

    The document will be discussed and rewritten over the course of the week, until the gathering concludes this weekend. The final document will then be used as a basis for discussion over the next year in the Catholic Church, when, in Fall 2015, Pope Francis has scheduled a second gathering for where Church changes can be put forth.

    The post The Vatican signals a more tolerant stance on homosexuality appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    7 Members Of NJ High School Football Team Arrested For Sexual Assault And Hazing

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the disturbing charges over sexual assault at a high school football program in New Jersey.

    Seven players were arrested over the weekend, and the district superintendent says he now believes the troubling behavior with hazing may have occurred before this season.

    And again to Jeff, who has the story.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a celebrated football program years of on-the-field success, a Hall of Fame coach, and it’s the pride of Sayreville, a New Jersey town 25 miles southwest of New York City.

    But now sexual assault and hazing charges have rocked Sayreville War Memorial High School. Seven players were charged Friday with attacking younger teammates in the team’s locker room last month.

    Superintendent Richard Labbe had already canceled the team’s remaining games last week.

    RICHARD LABBE, Superintendent, Sayreville Public Schools: There were incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that took place on a pervasive level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated, and, in general, accepted.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Labbe went further yesterday, telling NJ.com: “Whether we have a football program moving forward is certainly a question in my mind. Based upon the severity of the charges, I’m not sure.”

    The decision to end the season has sharply divided students and the town.

    PAIGE FICARRA, Student, Sayreville War Memorial High School: I feel really bad for the cheerleaders and the marching band and the rest of the players who didn’t do anything. Like, why do they deserve to be punished for someone else’s actions?

    SAL MISTRETTA, Former Football Coach, Sayreville War Memorial High School: These kids have grown up with bullying and harassment. They know the right thing to do. And even the ones that weren’t involved didn’t do the right thing.

    JEFFREY BROWN: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has condemned the alleged assault and ordered a state review of anti-bullying laws. Currently, they do not directly address behavior on sports teams.

    Kate Zernike is covering for The New York Times and joins us now.

    Kate, how much is known about the incident at this point, whether it’s a one-time thing or something more serious from the beginning and part of a regular pattern?

    KATE ZERNIKE, The New York Times: Well, what we know from the prosecutor’s charges is that it happened between — in about a 10-day — what they’re charging is between a 10-day period in September.

    But what they have also said and what the superintendent has said is that this is, as the superintendent said in your clip, pervasive. And the superintendent has told us that he believes it happened at least last year, if not before then.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What do we know about the young when who have been arrested? One question now is whether they will be tried as adults.

    KATE ZERNIKE: Right. Absolutely.

    It’s not that uncommon in New Jersey and particularly in Middlesex County, where this is, for juveniles to be waived up to adult court. And so that is certainly a possibility here, where the punishment obviously is much harder. You don’t serve in a — juveniles will often get probation or time in a juvenile facility, which is much easier than a regular prison. So that’s one big question, is how they be treated in the court system.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And the victims, they haven’t been identified, but one or more clearly came forward to talk about this.

    What do we know of them and how they’re faring?

    KATE ZERNIKE: Well, I think one of the victims’ fathers — I think it was the victim who first came forward and went to police and said this was a problem, who really stood and said, I don’t want this anymore — he was quote Saturday morning saying that this was — he felt tremendously vindicated by the arrests of these seven players.

    The other players, what’s interesting is when you talk to some of the freshmen who were on the team where the hazing occurred, what is sort of heartbreaking, frankly, is that you hear them saying this was happening and we thought it was horrifying, but we kind of laughed it off because that is what we thought we should do, and we thought this was just sort of how upperclassmen behaved, that this was part of the program.

    And I think it was really only because one student came forward and said I’m going to the police that this really came out in the public.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That would suggest a kind of culture of this — some kind of activity.

    KATE ZERNIKE: Absolutely.

    And, you know, I think it’s not probably that hard, unfortunately, for all of us to imagine how — how, you know, something that might seem like a fraternity rush moves into hazing and moves into bullying and then ultimately moves into this, which — as the prosecutor said, it is violent sexual contact.

    But I think, for these students, again, the students who were involved or allegedly involved in these attacks, they’re looking at a future where they’re marked as sexual offenders for the rest of their lives. This is very — this is a very serious crime.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about the coach, who I understand been there for about 20 years, and other adults, for that matter? Is there any sense that any of them knew or should have known what had happened?

    KATE ZERNIKE: I think that’s one of the big questions is, what did they know?

    But, certainly, a lot of people are saying, they should have known. One thing that was happening is the freshmen began — because they were so terrified to go into the locker room where this was happening, the freshmen began dressing for practice outside the locker room.

    And what a lot of parents and politicians have been saying is, why didn’t the adults notice? Why didn’t they say, hmm, that’s odd, why are they changing outside the locker room and talk to any of them about what might be happening inside that locker room?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, I mentioned the divisions in the town. What did you see? We know the superintendent canceled the season and he is now mulling over whether to cancel the program altogether. What’s that doing to the town?

    KATE ZERNIKE: Well, I think a lot of people, initially, in particular, were saying this isn’t that big a deal. I think this was before the charges came out and it appeared that the kids had actually been sodomized.

    I think, initially, people were saying, well, as you — the girl said in your clip, why are we ruining this for all the cheerleaders, the band members, the other players who didn’t do anything wrong?

    This is a town where it’s sort of the quintessential suburb in the quintessential suburban state. And this is a town where people play Pop Warner football knowing they’re going to go to the high school football team and play there. They go away to college, may even play football there, come back, maybe they coach.

    They just — it’s sort of the cycle of football is the cycle of life there. And so I think for a lot of people getting rid of this program seemed unthinkable. But a lot of other parents are saying — parents and community members are saying, we have to remember this town is about more than football and school is about more than football and football cannot be so important that we let this kind of thing happen.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Kate Zernike on the situation in Sayreville, New Jersey, thanks so much.

    KATE ZERNIKE: Thanks.

    The post Sexual assaults, ‘pervasive’ bullying revealed in N.J. town prized for football appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    VATICAN monitor no title

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: possible signals that the Roman Catholic Church may be softening its attitudes on gays and divorced Catholics. That’s what some observers are taking from a report out today marking the midway point of a two-week meeting of bishops at the Vatican.

    Joining us from Rome to fill us in on all this is John Allen. He covers the Vatican and the Catholic Church for The Boston Globe and its Web site, Crux. He also serves as senior Vatican analyst for CNN.

    John Allen, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”

    I was just reading, some gay rights groups are calling this a seismic change in a positive direction. How do you see it?

    JOHN ALLEN, The Boston Globe: Well, Judy, I think it’s important to be clear about what this is and what it is not.

    What it is not is a change in Catholic teaching on marriage. The bishops at this gathering, which is called a synod, have made it abundantly clear there is not going to be any change in Catholic doctrine, which is that marriage is a relationship between a man and woman that is permanent and it’s open to life.

    Now, that said, the bishops have also made clear that they want a more positive way of engaging people who don’t live that teaching, whether we’re talking about gays and lesbians, whether we’re talking about people who are cohabitating outside a marriage, whether it’s people who have divorced and remarried or whatever.

    They don’t want the first thing they hear from the Catholic Church to be a note of condemnation. They want it to be a note of friendship and then, after that, we will see where the conversation goes. So, fundamentally, this is a change in tone, rather than a change in content. But given the fact that gays and lesbians in particular have become quite accustomed to hearing messages of condemnation and disapproval from the Catholic Church, I guess, you know, you could call that a seismic change in tonality, if not a dramatic change in content.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, with new language, at least at this point in this bishops meeting, the synod, on gay right — on gays, on people who are divorced in the church, and on people living together, cohabitating, what are the practical effects of any language, anything that could come out of this meeting?

    JOHN ALLEN: Well, Judy, I think the reality is that all around the world, you will find Catholics at the grassroots who would accept church teaching on marriage, but who would also know plenty of people who don’t live that teaching.

    And I think many of them have long felt a kind of struggle between on the one hand how do you uphold what the church teaches and on the other hand recognize that these are often incredibly decent, good people, and you don’t want to snub them or not be able to be in friendships with them?

    And I think what the synod is doing — and of course all of this is to some extent inspired by the new tone set by Pope Francis — what they’re trying to do is give warrant to those Catholics in the trenches to say, it’s perfectly OK to have friendship with — friendships with these folks, it is perfectly OK to reach out to them, because that is what the church itself wants to try to do.

    So I think rather than really introducing a dramatic new teaching, this is, instead, I think, in a sense, authorizing people at the grassroots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried.

    Doesn’t mean you have to approve in fullness the lifestyle choices there, but it also means you can recognize the positive values that those people embody and try to embrace that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s certainly gotten our attention.

    John Allen, we thank you.

    The post Interpreting the Vatican’s language shift on homosexuality, divorce appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Liberia Races To Expand Ebola Treatment Facilities, As U.S. Troops Arrive

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to the devastating effects of the deadly virus overseas.

    Jeffrey Brown has that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: As we reported earlier, the director of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, issued a dire assessment today of Ebola’s ravaging effects on West Africa, saying it’s, unquestionably, the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times and a crisis for international peace and security.

    As a former British foreign secretary, our next guest is no stranger to peace and security crises. David Miliband is now head of the International Rescue Committee and just returned from Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two nations hardest hit by the epidemic.

    Mr. Miliband, thank you for joining us once again.

    As we see a first case in this country of a nurse contracting Ebola, what is the situation for health workers in Africa, including those in your organization?

    DAVID MILIBAND, Former British Foreign Secretary: The head of the World Health Organization has used the word dire. That’s clearly true. It’s a very dangerous place, above all to be a health worker.

    The death rate amongst health workers outstrips that of the civilian public population. And what we’re talking about is a very virulent disease which is hard to catch in a Western situation, but in conditions of overcrowding, lack of sanitation, lack of water supply and lack of electricity, it’s very dangerous indeed.

    And for health workers, they’re on the front lines, because it’s the direct bodily contact, an exchange of bodily fluid that makes this dangerous for them. The staff I met were obviously afraid, but they know that they face risks both at work and in their own homes, because there isn’t a good enough system yet to get the infected people out of their homes, into isolation centers.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, speaking of systems, there’s been a lot of focus of course recently on international support. What about local systems, local government? Are they able to keep up at this point?

    DAVID MILIBAND: Well, the short answer is no.

    I think that the disease is outstripping the response at the moment. And while it’s natural that there should be a focus on emergency treatment for those who have got the disease, it’s absolutely essential that we break the chain of transmission. It’s people in their homes with the disease, showing the symptoms, who are infecting their relatives and sometimes neighbors, relatives who might live in a house of 20 or 30, in the middle of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, or Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.

    It’s those conditions and the failure to get those who are suffering from the disease out of their homes that is spreading it. Just one other point to your question about the health systems in general, if you have got malaria in that — in one of those two countries, you’re not getting treatment.

    If you have got basic fever, you have got — you’re not getting treatment. If you have got diarrhea, you’re not getting treatment, because the health systems have broken them down. And that makes the challenge both for non-governmental organizations like my own and the international system that much greater.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is there an understanding in the public, among health workers or officials in these countries, did you sense an understanding that this will be going for we have heard 18 months, two years, this is a long struggle that will be hard to get under control?

    DAVID MILIBAND: It is a long struggle. But you have got to be careful with long struggles, because it suggests you have got a lot of time.

    I think what is important is that we realize that the next weeks and months — really weeks actually — will decide whether this becomes an epic of absolutely monumental proportions. After all, the Centers for Disease Control have talked about a million people being killed, whether it reaches that calamity, or whether it’s contained into the low tens of thousands.

    And I wouldn’t want people to think that just because this is a long-term war, will be a long-term fight, that somehow the short-term doesn’t matter. The next few weeks and whether or not this disease spreads from the single digit thousands to the tens of thousands is absolutely key to its long-term course. That’s why I talk about both countries being at a tipping point.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, and Margaret Chan of WHO pointed to political implications, the state — the potential of states actually failing. So this goes beyond a health crisis.

    DAVID MILIBAND: I think it’s very, very important to see that this is more than a health crisis.

    The president of Sierra Leone has said that the very survival of his nation is at stake. It’s a political emergency of major proportions. You don’t get NGOs calling for the military to come in, but that’s what’s happened with Western NGOs supporting the rigor and the logistical capacity that comes with some of the military and the manpower that comes with the military endeavor.

    My point is, though, we have to see this as a system that proceeds from infection, through to treatment, through to burial and disposal of bodies. Unless you deal with all parts of the chain, then you won’t be able to contain the disease. And that’s why it poses such a dire threat, not just to individuals, but also to the country’s concerns.

    JEFFREY BROWN: David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee, thank you so much.

    DAVID MILIBAND: Thank you.

    The post Why response time will make the difference between Ebola calamity and containment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CDC Chief Dr. Thomas Frieden

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a question that drove this day:  Just how well-prepared are hospitals, doctors, nurses and others to handle Ebola cases?

    We ask that of two people watching this closely.

    Katy Roemer is a registered nurse who works at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland California. She’s with National Nurses United. It’s the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S. And Dr. Howard Markel, he’s author of several book on epidemics and quarantines, including “When Germs Travel.”  He’s a professor on the history of medicine at the University of Michigan. He’s also a regular contributor to our Web site.

    We welcome both of you to the program.

    Katy Roemer, to you first.

    How prepared from your perspective are hospitals and health workers to deal with the Ebola crisis?

    KATY ROEMER, National Nurses United: We’re not prepared enough. We have done a survey that has surveyed nurses throughout the United States. More than — more than 2,000 nurses have responded to that survey in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

    And what the nurses are saying is that we are not prepared; 85 percent of those nurses say that they have not had face-to-face training where they could have their questions answered; 76 percent of our nurses are saying that they have not been able to see any sort of a protocol for dealing with Ebola.

    Nurses are putting our lives on the line in order to be able to care for these patients, and we expect the very highest levels of equipment and training to be able to do so. And that includes the optimum equipment and hazmat suits.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Markel, are the nurses’ concerns warranted?

    DR. HOWARD MARKEL, University of Michigan: Well, I think, certainly, based on what happened in Dallas, that there is concern.

    You know, wearing protective gear and protecting yourself against Ebola is no easy matter. It’s one thing saying you can do it, but actually doing it is quite difficult. Let’s put it this way. If you were in a regular garden-variety operating room, there’s a charge nurse watching each and every individual there to make sure they don’t break sterile technique.

    Now, that’s a technique that’s been used over 100 years. But they watch to make sure somebody doesn’t scratch their face or push up their glasses, because that would break that. Now, multiply that times 1,000, and put many more layers of productive gear, it is not so easy to manage a patient this way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Katy Roemer, to you, it’s clear that Ebola is not something that’s rampant in the United States, as it is in West Africa right now. Given that, what do nurses need at this moment, given the fact that it’s still a very isolated thing in the United States, in one hospital in Texas?

    KATY ROEMER: So what we’re asking for is optimal personal protection equipment, which includes hazmat suits, and we are asking for the training, so that we can put them on and take them off in a manner that’s safe, because those are the two really high-risk points in terms of providing — using the equipment, when you put them on and when you take them off.

    We want a buddy system to be put in place, so that we have the observer watching what we’re doing and that we are putting them on and taking them off correctly. And we want the face-to-face training so that we can, you know, have all of our questions answered. This is a real patient safety issue for us. We want the ability to keep our patients safe and we want the ability to keep ourselves and our community safe.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Markel, how easy is it to do what Katy Roemer is saying nurses want done?

    DR. HOWARD MARKEL: Well, in the heat of the moment, it’s very difficult, because we’re not only fighting this epidemic. We have to bring everybody in the health care system up to speed.

    And it brings to mind that the United States does have four specialized containment centers in the NIH, at Emory, in Nebraska and in Montana. And one might question, shouldn’t those patients with Ebola be sent to very highly specialized places, where the nurses, doctors, and other health care workers are specifically trained?

    You know, you have to be trained not just once or a couple of times a year. These are things you have to do on a regular basis to sort of get a muscle memory of how to do all these things so that you don’t contaminate others or yourself.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But is that practical, Professor Markel, to transfer patients after they have been identified to another hospital that has a higher level of protective experience and training?

    DR. HOWARD MARKEL: Well, it’s a good question.

    I think we need to make it practical if the hospital in question doesn’t feel prepared to take care of that patient. And we do that kind of thing all the time. What we have to make very safe is the means of transfer.

    But, that aside, there’s lot of things that we often do that the CDC is involved in doing and local and state health departments are doing in terms of helping nurses and doctors on the front lines, in emergency rooms and hospitals across the country, to make sure they feel comfortable thinking Ebola when they have a patient who says they have been in Africa in the last 21 days, and has a fever or vomiting and other symptoms like that, and also that they can quickly put on that protective gear to protect themselves as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Katy Roemer, in the near term…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, sure, go ahead. I — go ahead.

    KATY ROEMER: Yes, I just want to respond to that, because the reality is that patients can walk into a hospital or a clinic at any moment.

    And so to say that we would just have training at the regional centers doesn’t provide for safe, adequate care for the patients that might walk in and access care at any one of our hospitals or clinics throughout the United States. So we are asking for training for nurses who are providing care in all those areas, so that we know how to identify, so that we have a communication plan, so that we have the ability to isolate patients when we need to and that we can, you know, provide immediate care, which is what we’re going to be required to do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. It’s clear that this is an ongoing issue, and we will continue to look at it.

    We thank you both, Katy Roemer, Professor Howard Markel.

    KATY ROEMER: Thank you.

    DR. HOWARD MARKEL: Thank you.

    The post Facing isolated Ebola cases, how should U.S. boost training for health care providers? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    If a nurse wearing full protective gear contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, how safe are other hospitals and health workers in the United States?

    Tonight on the PBS NewsHour Anchor Judy Woodruff will talk about the risks and precautions hospitals are taking with Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan and author of When Germs Travel, and with Katy Roemer of National Nurses United.

    While concerns about identifying, treating and containing Ebola in the U.S. are real, Markel told the NewsHour this afternoon the country is well-positioned to prevent larger outbreaks.

    The following excerpt from that conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Watch the NewsHour tonight to hear more from Markel and Roemer.

    How prepared are U.S. hospitals to identify and treat Ebola patients?

    That’s a very broad question. We have four specialized infectious disease elite units. They’re incredibly well-prepared, have all the technology, they’ve done the drills. Across nation it really depends on the hospital itself. At a general hospital like the one in Dallas, I would really wonder how many times the health care workers have done the drills.

    But remember, the patient with Ebola had multiple organ failure, kidney failure. He was on dialysis, that’s a very bloody procedure. He was also respirated and when you put the tube in an take it out, that puts lots of bodily fluids into the air. It’s very messy work. No one going to do it perfectly every time, but Ebola wants perfection or it gets you. The real issue is how prepared we’re going to be going forward. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a great training plan, going over with doctors and nurses how to wear protective gear and make sure there are double and triple checks in place.

    Just for some perspective — we had Thomas Eric Duncan who came from Africa, and now we have one infected health worker. Compare that to what’s happened in Sierra Leone or Liberia to date.

    As someone who studies epidemics, there’s always lots of fear, scapegoating and blame. American tolerance for anything less than perfection has only shortened. The incredible thing to focus on is that so little has happened, so few cases have spread here. That doesn’t mean everything is perfect and preparedness doesn’t mean we’re going to be 100 percent prepared, but I have confidence in the CDC as we go along.

    What does adequate training for healthcare workers treating Ebola look like? Is it practical for all workers to be trained on dealing with Ebola, or any other virulent infection?

    It’s not very practical. Consider how rare it has been in the US up to a few days ago. When doctors and nurses are prepared — these are physical maneuvers and when they prepare they have do it a lot. CPR, we prepare everyday. We regularly have drills in hospitals to guard against garden variety infection. But things like this, we do them once a year, and I don’t have faith in being able to replicate something you only practice once a year perfectly every time. There are so many other things that need our daily attention — heart attacks, diabetes.

    Another thing we aren’t hearing a lot about: the CDC budget been cut quite a bit through sequestration. Public health budgets in cities and states have been cut. Many say they don’t have enough resources to take care of tuberculosis patients or HIV patients. It’s hard to prepare for everything on the menu with limited dollars. So you try to prepare for the most common things first. And then sometimes you have egg on your face because when you hear hoof beats you think horses, not zebras. Would we want to devote millions of dollars going forward — when Ebola has been laid to rest for a while in a year, say — would we invest millions to train doctors and nurses to do this work going forward when there are so many other things they see more regularly. You have to do a risk benefit analysis based on how many dollars you have, which means you’re likely to be wrong a lot. Infectious diseases, they’re a lot smarter than we are, we’ve never conquered them. At best we’ve wrestled them to a draw. I hope we wrestle this one to a draw.

    What about transferring any future Ebola patients to the elite infectious disease units you mentioned earlier? Is that a workable solution?

    That was my first thought. These are very expensive and decked out units. But you have to have a very clear protocol in place with extremely well-trained people from healthcare workers to flight and ground crews because you don’t want to spread it to another place. Say you take this nurse to Nebraska and then you spread it disembarking from the plane?

    What you may find going forward is that we’ll have more than four infectious disease high-tech units. They won’t be just for Ebola. We live in a world of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, but there’s a question if you move people around there’s the danger of spreading it further. I know for a fact that’s being discussed in Atlanta and Washington right now. Another issue too — fear and panic seems to generate a logarithmic course particularly, I find, when the microbe in question is rare, deadly, extremely scary and has attacked relatively few people. Look at Anthrax and SARS, the response was huge. But look at tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS — those cart many more people off. Right now we need to fight Ebola. Going forward we need a comprehensive approach at the state, federal, global level of response. If we don’t have that we’ll get bitten again.

    What are you worried about when it comes to another Ebola patient arriving at a general hospital in the U.S.?

    In the olden days doctors and nurses used to die in line of fire, so to say, when treating infectious disease all the time. It’s only recently in the post-World War II era with antibiotics and improved vaccines and so on that has started to change. Duncan didn’t come with sign on his back saying: I have Ebola. The first case is particularly tough, the second and third cases are way easier. Imagine now, a patient saying they came from Africa vomiting and bleeding would get very different reception than they did a few weeks ago. It is of concern, because emergency rooms have traditionally been first lines of defense, it’s imperative that doctors and nurses acquaint themselves with these methods and have the isolation units. That said, you’ll have many more people vomiting because of garden variety infections or having had too much to drink the night before. But that’s the thing about epidemics, you’ll overcall sometimes, but that’s better than undercalling.

    Are there things about the American healthcare system that you find reassuring in thinking about the response to Ebola in the U.S.?

    The American system of medical care, the state of knowledge that doctors and nurses and others have, the technology hospitals have has never been better in recorded history. We can take heart in fact that even though Duncan died — some say 60 to 90 percent of people with Ebola will die — it was discerned. There was a nurse infected and that’s very concerning, not to play that down. We should expect a few other healthcare workers could contract Ebola. But look at Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. We’re talking about one case, that’s remarkable. I have confidence that hospitals are doing a fine job. Will it be perfect? No. Medicine is never 100 percent. Ever. But the gotcha or blame circle distracts us from the real matters at hand — treating the ill, protecting health workers, making sure it doesn’t spread further — those are the prizes to focus on.

    The post Are hospitals and workers prepared to treat Ebola? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Louisiana’s debate for U.S. Senate at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. CDT) on Tuesday, Oct. 14, featuring incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), Bill Cassidy (R), and Robert Maness (R). Live stream courtesy Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana will present a live debate for the Louisiana Senate seat on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. EDT from the Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana.

    Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu will face off against Republican challengers William “Bill” Cassidy and Tea Party-backed Robert Maness.

    Bill Cassidy, Mary Landrieu and Robert Maness

    Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, center, will face off against Republican challengers William “Bill” Cassidy, left, and Tea Party-backed Robert Maness, right. Cassidy photo by Flickr user Gage Skidmore, Landrieu photo by Flickr user Senate Democrats and Maness photo by Wikimedia

    The presence of a third-party candidate has poll-watchers on both sides of the aisle biting their nails. If no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will follow. This could leave control of the Senate in play through the new year.

    Follow Tuesday’s debate on Twitter with the hashtag #lasenatedebate.


    The post Watch Tuesday’s Louisiana Senate debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ebolaebola

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The first known case of Ebola being transmitted inside the United States has triggered a national review of hospital procedures.  That word today follows confirmation that a Texas nurse was infected by a patient.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Developments in Dallas this weekend lent new urgency to that message today from Dr. Tom Frieden at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A 26-year-old nurse, Nina Pham, now has Ebola.  She’s being kept in isolation at the same hospital where she helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died in Dallas last Wednesday.

    At a briefing in Atlanta, Frieden said it’s critical to improve the safety of those on the front lines.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient.  She was there trying to help the first patient survive, and now she has become infected.  All of us have to work together to do whatever is possible to reduce the risk that any other health care worker becomes infected.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To that end, Texas officials are searching for clues as to how the nurse was infected, despite wearing protective gear.  Hazmat crews have decontaminated and cleaned her apartment.

    And Dallas police are guarding the complex and notifying neighbors within a four-block radius.  Frieden says, the nurse was in contact with only one other person after she became contagious, and, he says, officials are trying to determine if the Liberian victim infected other health workers.

    In addition, the CDC is doubling down on training nationwide.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: We will work with hospitals throughout the country to think Ebola in someone with a fever or other symptoms who has travel to any of the three affected countries in the previous 21 days.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On Sunday, the CDC head had tied the nurse’s case to an unspecified violation of protocol.  That drew fire from a major nurses union.

    KATY ROEMER, National Nurses United: When the nurses become infected, they are blamed for not following the protocols.  That is not going to work.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, today, Frieden said he didn’t mean to give the impression that he’s blaming medical staff.

    And on ABC this morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talked of sending Ebola patients to highly specialized hospitals.

    DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: I think that is not a bad idea at all because, in addition to having all the proper equipment, you really do need training.  And as is often the case in medicine, when someone or some group does things more than once, two, three, four, five times, they get very good at it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In a statement on Sunday, President Obama ordered federal agencies to ensure that hospitals and staff are ready to deal with Ebola.  Today, he was briefed on the situation by top health and homeland security official, all of this as the head of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, warned the epidemic is endangering national governments in West Africa and potentially world stability.

    Liberia has been hit hardest, but it managed to avoid a hospital strike today.  Most nurses and other health workers defied a call from their union to walk off the job for higher hazard pay and more protective gear.

    Later, the White House said the president spoke today with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.  And they agreed there is an urgent need to decisively address the crisis.  We will take a closer look at the challenge that Ebola poses to hospital workers after the news summary.

    Iraq’s peril grew even graver today as Islamic State fighters captured a key military training camp in the west and bombings in Baghdad killed 25 people.  The militants now control strategically important towns and corridors in both Syria and Iraq.  And they have advanced to areas ringing Baghdad itself.

    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visited today, and warned that it will take more than airstrikes to stop them.

    PHILIP HAMMOND, Foreign Defense Secretary: The coalition can only deliver effective support to the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces.  To beat ISIL, it is the Iraqi people, the Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqi government that will have to take the lead on the ground.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The British have joined in the U.S.-led air campaign in Iraq, but not in neighboring Syria.

    And in Syria today, fierce fighting raged again in Kobani, near the Turkish border.  Kurdish defenders are battling to hold on there, but Islamic State attackers have taken about half the town.  Turkey has held back from coming to Kobani’s aid.  And, today, the government disputed U.S. claims that coalition forces will use a major Turkish air base.

    BÜLENT ARINÇ, Deputy Prime Minister, Turkey (through interpreter): There is nothing new on Incirlik air base.  We are discussing providing some facilities for the train-and-supply project, but we have not reached any decisions yet.  The talks with U.S. officials on the measures that will be taken against the Islamic State in Syria, including establishing a no-fly zone and buffer zone, will continue in the coming days.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So far, coalition planes are flying off U.S. aircraft carriers and from several Arab nations.

    In Afghanistan, local officials say Taliban fighters ambushed an Afghan security convoy in the north on Sunday, killing at least 14 soldiers and police.  To the east, hundreds of villagers protested over a NATO airstrike in Paktika Province.  They said seven civilians were killed.  NATO said they were militants.

    State media in North Korea reports that Kim Jong-un has been seen in public for the first time since September 3.  The report says the nation’s leader visited a newly built housing district and a laboratory.  Kim’s absence from public view has fueled speculation about his health and his hold on power.

    The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong ran into new trouble today.  A mob of masked men attacked barricades that have blocked central roads in the financial district since September 28.  Then, several hundred people tried to storm the area, demanding that the streets be reopened.

    MAN (through interpreter): We want the government to clear the protesters from the streets, because they have disturbed us.  Life for ordinary people is hard, and we cannot live if we don’t work.  Their protests have harmed Hong Kong’s economy and social order, so why don’t we ask government to clear them out?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Protest leaders blamed criminal gangs, known as triads, for today’s unrest, but they said students at the scene refused to be baited into a fight.

    CHAN KIN-MAN, Co-Founder, Occupy Central (through interpreter): Today, I was very touched.  When the triads came, the so-called pro-Beijing groups came, and a conflict was about to happen.  Our youngsters at the very front raised up their hands to tell them we are fighting for our ideals in peace.  We salute them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The protesters have vowed to occupy the city’s financial district until mainland China allows unfettered elections for the city’s leader.

    More than 30 people were arrested today in Ferguson, Missouri, protesting the killings of Michael Brown and other black teenagers.  Several hundred people marched to police headquarters in the Saint Louis suburb.  It was part of a long weekend of rallies.

    Thousands of people in India and Japan now face extensive cleanups from major storms.  In Eastern India, a cyclone struck roared out of the Bay of Bengal on Sunday.  It killed at least 24 people and demolished some 90,000 homes.  In Japan, a typhoon knocked out power and shut down trains and flights on Kyushu Island today.  From there, the storm headed toward Tokyo.  And Hurricane Gonzalo has formed in the Caribbean on a track toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

    This year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics is Jean Tirole of France.  He was honored today for work that shaped the regulation of major industries in the 1980s and ’90s.  More recently, he’s called for stronger oversight of banks.

    The Wall Street sell-off kept going today amid concerns about economies of Europe and Asia.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost another 223 points to close at 16,321; the Nasdaq fell 62 points to close at 4,213; and the S&P 500 dropped 31 to 1,874.

    The post News Wrap: CDC ‘doubling down’ on Ebola training appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Virginia’s “People’s Debate” for U.S. Senate at 7 p.m. EDT tonight, featuring Incumbent Sen. Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R). Live stream courtesy Virginia Public Television.

    Senator Mark Warner (D) will debate Republican challenger Ed Gillespie live from Richmond, Va., Monday night in their last face-to-face before the November elections.

    The two candidates will meet at the WCVE PBS TV studios in Richmond Monday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. EDT. The so-called “People’s Debate” is co-produced by WCVE PBS and WTVR CBS 6, and co-sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Virginia and AARP Virginia. Bill Fitzgerald, anchor for WTVR CBS-6, moderates.

    Warner and Gillespie met for the first time in July in an event moderated by PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff. There, the candidates sparred over women’s health and the minimum wage, but polls afterward remained largely unchanged, with Warner continuing to hold a comfortable lead over his Republican challenger.

    That polling gap has, in some ways, been around from the beginning of the campaign: Warner, the incumbent and a former Governor, enjoys wide name recognition across Old Dominion, while Gillespie, a former lobbyist, has had to work to overcome past ties to Enron.

    Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, left, and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. Warner photo from his Flickr account and photo of Gillespie by Flickr user Gage Skidmore

    Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, left, and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. Warner photo from his Flickr account and photo of Gillespie by Flickr user Gage Skidmore

    Still, Virginia is historically a swing state, and Warner has been playing up his bipartisan bona fides, hoping to avoid being painted with the same brush as the Obama administration on issues like health care.

    Recently, he has faced allegations of attempted cronyism during a heated battle to retain party control of the state senate.

    That incident, which is currently under investigation, is bound to come up during tonight’s debate.

    Energy policy, and specifically the Keystone XL pipeline, immigration, and healthcare are also likely to be part of tonight’s exchange. Gillespie panned the Affordable Care Act on the NewsHour last year.

    Follow news about tonight’s event on Twitter with the hashtag #PeoplesDebate.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Virginia Senate debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch a special edition of Kentucky Tonight, featuring candidates for U.S. Senate, on Monday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. EDT, featuring Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). Livestream courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

    Kentucky’s major party candidates for U.S. Senate will meet for a moderated conversation on Kentucky Educational Television’s signature politics program Monday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. EDT, in what is expected to be their only face-to-face event before the Nov. 4 general election.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who are embroiled in one of the most contentious national races in the country, will appear live on “Kentucky Tonight” with host Bill Goodman. Libertarian candidate David Patterson will not be present, following a short but heated legal challenge against KET.

    The race is one of the most closely-followed and hotly-contested of the season, where this seat is pivotal not only to determining control of the Senate, but also its leadership. If Grimes unseats five-term incumbent McConnell, she could both block Republicans from gaining the Senate and also knock McConnell, the current Minority Leader, from GOP party leadership.

    Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo of McConnell from his official Senate portrait; Photo of Lundergan Grimes from her campaign website

    Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo of McConnell from his official Senate portrait; Photo of Lundergan Grimes from her campaign website

    For this reasons, Democrats have been pouring money into offense. PBS NewsHour’s Morning Line team reported in July that Grimes had broken state fundraising records that quarter, and both sides still have substantial war chests going into the final weeks of the campaign.

    At tonight’s debate, the candidates will need to convince voters that they can bring jobs back to a state heavily reliant on a declining coal industry. Both Grimes and McConnell have criticized federal energy policy, including regulations on coal-fired power plants, for contributing to Kentucky’s struggling economy and high unemployment rates, and both have decried what they call President Obama’s “war on coal.”

    Grimes in particular has had to distance herself from the unpopular president. In September, she released an ad showing her looking into the camera and saying: “I am not Barack Obama.” And at an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, she declined to answer a question about whether she had voted for him in 2008 or 2012.

    Healthcare and immigration, two signature Obama administration issues, are also likely to be front and center at tonight’s debate.

    Tonight’s debate will not be open to an audience, but viewers with questions for the candidates may send them via e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter via @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page. The phone number for viewer questions during the program is 1-800-494-7605. All messages should include the first and last name and the hometown or home county of the submitter.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Kentucky Senate candidates debate issues appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died Wednesday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas confirmed. Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images

    Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died Wednesday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas confirmed. Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images

    About 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital were involved in taking care of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

    The medical team’s involvement included drawing Duncan’s blood, putting tubes down his throat, wiping up his diarrhea, analyzing his urine and wiping his saliva. Among the group was Nina Pham, the 26-year-old nurse who contracted Ebola while taking care of Duncan.

    AP says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not established the exact number of people who had contact with Duncan.

    During a press conference earlier today, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said: “If this one individual was infected — and we don’t know how — within the isolation unit, then it is possible that other individuals could have been infected as well. We do not today have a number of such exposed people or potentially exposed health care workers. It’s a relatively large number, we think in the end.”

    The post About 70 hospital staffers involved in care of Dallas Ebola patient appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Republicans are outspending Democrats in this year’s election. In Louisiana, where Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu faces off against Republican Bill Cassidy, conservatives have spent $22.6 million to the Democrats’ $19 million. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    The Morning Line

    Today in the Morning Line:

    • Overall spending surpasses $1 billion for 2014
    • Republican outside groups have outspent Democratic ones by 47 percent
    • $169 million spent on TV ads between North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa
    • Republicans have outspent Democrats and their allies in seven of top 10 Senate races

    All about the money, money: Conservative outside groups are outspending Democratic-leaning ones, $191 million to $130 million this cycle, the Washington Post’s Matea Gold reported Monday. Overall spending on everything from ads to keeping the lights on, combining both House and Senate races, has hit $1.2 billion, as of Oct. 12. Outside groups, excluding party committees, have spent $330 million and climbing this cycle. That’s more money than spent by these groups in any election except the 2012 presidential election. Dark-money groups, who don’t disclose their donors, like Americans for Prosperity — the conservative political advocacy group founded by the Koch Brothers — and the liberal group Patriot Majority PAC are not included in the totals because of how they report. Dark money has made up more than $100 million this cycle and that could double by Election Day, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    So where’s all that money going and who’s benefitting? Last week, we showed where the money WILL be going with the ad reservations over the last month. Democrats were pouring money into their “firewall” states of North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, and outspending Republicans on the air. Today, we can show you how much has been spent OVERALL, and, not surprisingly those three states have seen the most ad spending — some $169 million been between them, according to SMG Delta, a Republican ad-tracking firm. North Carolina is tops with nearly $66 million spent. Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan and pro-Democratic groups have edged Republican challenger Thom Tillis and his allies, $36.3 million to $29.6 million. Colorado is second with more than $52 million spent, but there, Republicans are narrowly outspending Democrats. More than $50 million has been spent in Iowa, which is incredible considering its low-dollar ad markets. There, Republicans again have had the narrow edge. Of the top 10 Senate races with the most TV ad spending, Republican candidates, and the groups that support them, have outspent Democrats in all but three states:

    1. North Carolina: $65.9 million ($36.3 million D, $29.6 million R)
    2. Colorado: $52.4 million ($27.2 million R, $25.2 million D)
    3. Iowa: $50.3 million ($25.5 million R, $24.9 million D)
    4. Louisiana: $41.6 million ($22.6 million R, $19 million D)
    5. Kentucky: $39.1 million ($24.6 million R, $14.5 million D)
    6. Arkansas: $38.9 million ($22.5 million R, $16.4 million D)
    7. Michigan: $28.9 million ($15.4 million D, $13.4 million R)
    8. Alaska: $23.4 million ($12.4 million R, $11 million D)
    9. Georgia: $15.5 million ($8.2 million R, $7.3 million D)
    10. New Hampshire: $15.3 million ($7.7 million D, $7.6 million R)

    Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1890, future President Dwight David Eisenhower was born. What did Eisenhower say, “was one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest”? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Ed Byrnes (@Ed455B) for guessing Friday’s trivia: Which president was responsible for the U.S. taking over construction of the canal? The answer was: Teddy Roosevelt.
    LINE ITEMS

    • President Obama will attend a meeting at Andrews Air Force Base hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey Tuesday to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State. Later, Mr. Obama will attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event in the Washington, D.C., area.

    • Ebola might be creeping its way into the midterm elections with Republicans accusing the president of not doing enough to stop people from coming into the country from West Africa, and Democrats blaming Republicans for budget cuts that have hampered the CDC’s ability to respond to the crisis.

    • NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff sat down with Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report to get their take on where the most competitive races stand just three weeks from Election Day.

    • The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin writes that the South Dakota Senate race is now up for grabs, and no one saw it coming.

    • In the only debate of the Kentucky Senate race, held Monday night, Alison Lundergan Grimes again refused to say whom she supported for president in 2012, while Mitch McConnell tried to tie her to Democrat leadership and emphasized the power he’d have as majority leader.

    • All four Arkansas Senate candidates took to the stage in their first debate Monday night. Rep. Tom Cotton and Sen. Mark Pryor will debate solo Tuesday.

    • Republicans are pouring a lot of money into a Senate race they thought was theirs to win, but North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan seems to be hanging on.

    • A struggling Scott Brown is looking for support anywhere he can find it in New Hampshire.

    • Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has made contraception and abortion such a central focus of his campaign that a local reporter has dubbed him “Mark Uterus.” The problem is Colorado voters believe other issues are more important this go-round.

    • Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is fighting for re-election in Michigan, a state that voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. His opponent, Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, is using Snyder’s economic record to weaken the incumbent. Christy McDonald of Detroit Public Television reported on the race for NewsHour.

    • In one of the most hotly contested House races this cycle, California Republican Carl DeMaio could be in trouble after a former staffer went on CNN and accused him of sexual harassment.

    • The DCCC is putting some last minute money into the seat Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley is vacating to ensure it stays in Democratic hands.

    • Voter ID laws are supposedly put in place to help combat voter fraud, but often the laws do not address fraud at all.

    • Mitt Romney traveled to the Hawkeye State to campaign for GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst, but he encountered a lot of Republicans more interested in getting him to run for president again.

    • Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Sheldon Whitehouse, who are often on opposite sides of the party, are teaming up on climate change.

    • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.

    TOP TWEETS

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    The post Republicans winning the ad-spending race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    103060393 teen kidsOver the weekend, seven members of a New Jersey high school football team were charged with sexually assaulting several of their younger teammates after a culture of hazing and locker room bullying spiraled out of control. In recent years, bullying has been linked to instances of school violence, as well as student suicide.

    NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs recently asked students to share their experiences with bullying in an online call out. Responses varied from students who believed that bullying should always be reported to those who, in the words of one high school sophomore, “don’t think there is anything the school can do.” Students reported being bullied for everything from their hobbies to their race to their last name. Many also commented that social media has changed bullying, causing it to become more pervasive, and even allowing it to follow them home.

    Now we are asking you, have instances of bullying increased in recent years, or have we simply become more culturally sensitive to the issue? What are some best practices to curb bullying in the nation’s schools? When does bullying cross the line between acting out and criminal behavior? Join the conversation on Twitter this Thursday, October 16, from 1-2 p.m. EDT. Sandra K. Intrieri (@ski626), principal of Millbrook High School in New York, will share her perspective as an educator. Follow along and chime in using #NewsHourChats.

    The post Twitter chat: When does bullying become a crime? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    True to his social network, Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg announced on Facebook that the he and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, will give $25 million to help prevent the spread of Ebola.

    Their donation will go to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, a private nonprofit that helps fund the CDC’s work. His donation comes after large philanthropic foundations have pledged their support in dollars, such as the $50 million to U.N. agencies and the CDC from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the $20 million the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has given under the banner of their “Tackle Ebola” campaign.

    “[Ebola] is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.”

    Polio was a global health crisis for decades until the development of a vaccine in 1955 and a massive global effort in 1988. Today, the virus has been eradicated everywhere except for Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In Pakistan this year, polio infected the most people since 2000, triggering the World Health Organization to declare it an emergency. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative estimates that it needs $5.5 billion to meet its goals.

    HIV/AIDS is still a global health crisis; 2.3 million new cases were reported in 2012. In sub-Saharan Africa, one in 20 people live with the virus. The CDC estimates that 36 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

    In 2013, an estimated $19.1 billion were donated to address HIV/AIDS, the largest sum of money in history. And yet, according to a report by UNAIDS and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, over $22 billion will be needed to address the epidemic in 2015.

    But there is a key difference between HIV/AIDS and polio and Ebola. It’s possible to live with the viruses that Zuckerberg cites as other global health crises, especially in developed countries with accessible healthcare and medicine.

    Ebola, on the other hand, is often fatal if left untreated. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

    The disease has killed more than 4,000 people.

    The post Mark Zuckerberg to give $25M to fight Ebola appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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